Wednesday, December 3, 2008
When I was a child, my dreams were often filled with terror. I have looked closely at the content of those dreams in therapy, and they are fairly obvious. I was always being chased by some kind of bully. I was never really bullied by other children. It was only in my dreams and the bullies were never children. They were not always male, in fact, often female. Even as a child I knew who those bullies represented. But only in my dreams was it so clear that they were out to kill me. But once I left home at seventeen, those dreams ended. Case closed. Yes, my parents could still make my life hell in one way or another, but I was no longer dependent on them, and so they could no longer kill me in quite the same way. And it was in this period of my life that I began to try to kill myself, and not in my dreams, but in real life, in real ways--nothing passive about it. As you can see I failed.
But in my adult life, no matter how awful certain periods of that adult life was, my dreams were my refuge. Because my early life was so intensely bad, and yet looked so good from the outside, my distress was not noticed by anyone who could or would have been able to help me. So I grew up crazy but looked quite sane. And into my early twenties (for the most part) I kept my mouth shut about the early family abuse. It took the suicide of my favorite cousin to shake the truth out, to spill my guts and confront both my parents. My father disowned me, and his father disowned me, so I was written out of their wills and never spoken to again. My mother put her fingers in her ears and screamed lalalalala as loud as she could and ran from the room, metaphorically speaking.
During this part of my life I began to succumb to long episodes of depression. Sleep became my best friend. Because in sleep I dreamed a lovely life. Or an interesting life that might be disturbingly strange, but not frightening. I had recurring dreams of my ability to jump free of gravity and float and fly. These were euphoric dreams of such joyous freedom. During the waning days of my third marriage, I dreamed repeatedly that I would get on a plane as a passenger to find that in reality I was the pilot and the runway was a city street. And in every one of these strange dreams, I was successful at dodging cars and threading the electrical lines that crisscrossed city streets and take off to eventually land under similar circumstances.
I've had the baby dreams. I dreamed of the NFL Baby Farm run by Rosie Greer. I dreamed I went to the grocery store and they were having a special on babies--two for the price of one. What a deal. I got one of each, and they were wrapped in newspaper like a bouquet of flowers then placed in a large grocery bag. I carried my groceries to my car, placed all my purchases in the trunk like always, slammed the trunk shut and drove home. Once at home I placed the babies on the floor, left them kitty kibble and water and went to work. I dreamed I gave birth to a litter of puppies. And so on. I think lots of women have strange baby dreams. I'd bet men do not.
And so my dream life went on until I had my bout with a major psychosis. The hallucinating kind. The kind of event even I could not ignore. I called 911 on myself and after two weeks in the looney bin I came out feeling lobotomized by the antipsychotic drugs and all dreaming ended. For many years. Oh perhaps I did dream, but could not ever remember the experience. I felt cut off from my subconscious self. Sleep was a black hole I fell into. I did not wake refreshed, and never woke delighted with the workings of my sleeping mind.
But as I stabilize these days, post Maggy's death, my dream life is returning. And I awoke from a dream of such loveliness this morning I was sad to have to wake up. My bladder was the culprit in ending this dream. But the gist of the dream was that I was helping a friend who was a wedding planner. We had an appointment with a client who lived in a castle--not the fairy tale kind, but the house as big as a large city kind. And this dream location was in Denver. I've lived in Denver, so I know this wasn't the Denver of reality. I'd call this house style Tudor, but do not think English castle, think big country mansion the size of a large town. I expected the clients to be asses, as I have a prejudice against the very rich (my father's parents were rich as were all their friends--a thoroughly awful bunch of snobs) so I was very surprised to find that every person I met (all family members of the one to be married) were not only charming, but desirable as well, gender had nothing to do with it. And they seemed to want to adopt me. This is where the full bladder ends the dream. But the melody lingers on.